The feeling of mud is a serious matter

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Businesses like the New York City Slime Museum and shop SloMoo Institute are in growth mode; the business began as a pop-up in 2019 and reported $30 million in revenue in 2023. Social media influencers like OG Slimes and Karina Garcia have built their brands and large followings by posting reviews and homespun slime recipes on TikTok and YouTube.

Slime is undoubtedly more popular than ever. Millions of people find it fun and soothing, and they actively seek out ways to make it, buy it, and watch others do it too. It appeals to people of all ages; Gen-Z kids, teens, and even adults make and play with slime in their kitchens, on their living room floors, in their dorm rooms, and sometimes even in bed. All this messy fun is tied to ASMR benefits: boosting brain function, curbing anxiety, or easily managing stress related to breakups, work, and family.

From a business perspective, there’s clearly money to be made. Elmer’s market research shows that college-age kids view 81 percent of slime content on social media, while #slime videos from people of all ages were viewed 360 million times in May 2024. At the same time, Slomoo is expanding its reach, adding new locations in Houston and Los Angeles.

At the heart of this positive momentum are bottles of slime lovers’ favorite ingredient: Elmer’s glue.

“It’s funny to hear some people say slime is ‘back,'” says Nikki Lesperance, marketing director at Newell Brands. “Slime never went away. It’s a new category coming to the market and now it’s become part of our DNA.”

As part of the new marketing effort, Elmer’s is launching a digital hub dedicated to slime making. The special website, called Elmer’s Creations, is filled with new slime recipes (Mello Mello, Lightning in a Bottle) and includes some new products developed for the ASMR crowd. One of Elmer’s new products, Squishies, are stress-ball-like, squeezable toys molded into the shapes of 12 different characters. They offer many of the same benefits as slime — the sensory experience of pulling and stretching, customizable colors and sizes, or adding visual stimulating elements like glitter. Importantly, the Squishies kits focus on the making process far more than the resulting product.

When Craig Richard When I was a kid, he would grab a pillow, put an episode on the joy of painting on the television, and fall asleep on his family’s living room floor listening to the soft sounds of Bob Ross’s voice and the delicate movements of his paintbrush across the canvas. Richard didn’t realize then that those Bob Ross naps were facilitated by the calmness of an ASMR high. Today, Richard researches biomedical sciences at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, and coordinates one of the largest databases of ASMR research in the world.

Since beginning this work in 2014, Richard has been learning how ASMR works and why individuals of all ages have found it beneficial in managing stress, anxiety, and overall well-being. “We did a brain scan study,” he says. “People watched ASMR videos while they were scanned. We could see which areas of the brain were more active. Certain areas lit up and lined up with what I proposed were hormones like oxytocin. The love hormone, the trust hormone, the hug hormone. It’s released when you get positive personal attention from a kind or caring person.” In biomedical science, the release of hormones associated with receiving personal attention is called affiliative behavior, says Richard.

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